Friday, February 20, 2009

Maybe it would help if I made one myself?

This country has had presidents almost the whole time, and some of them have been pretty dang good. It was for this reason that I decided to go ahead and take the day off last Monday, even though my employers seem to prefer to totally take our political system for granted and not give any time off at all. Whatever. (communists. Or socialists. Some kind of “ist” for sure…)

Anyway, the Royal Family was also off for the day so we decided to spend the day together, and to spend it at the coast.

Tangent which might be a rerun: Here in the Pacific Northwest (which is where Hippyville is located) we don’t have beaches really. We have ‘The Coast.’ “What is the difference?” you ask? This is the difference:

A beach is often sunny and lovely, and people have been known to swim in the actual ocean when they are at the beach, and sometimes there are people who lie on towels with very little clothing on them and try to get something they call a “tan.” This is a beach.

The COAST is pretty much always overcast, or maybe raining, and usually windy. You would NEVER swim in the ocean at the coast because the ocean is extremely dangerous and exists mostly to kill you. Also to house fish and other aquatic life forms, but mostly just to kill. You. You’d never even turn your BACK on the ocean at the coast, let alone go SWIMMING in it. The appropriate amount of layers of clothing to wear to the coast is somewhere between three and eleven, plus the requisite rain coat and floppy hat, cinched up right under your chin so as to not blow away. This is the coast.

Tangent done. (maybe again.)

If you’re from some of the places with beaches you probably think that the coast is a terrible place, but those of us from the Pacific Northwest love our coasts. We love to drive to them and park our car and walk on the long stretches of windswept sand or clamber over the lava formations peeking into the tide pools hidden among them. We think that poking a sea anemone or finding a starfish is cool like licking a celebrity or finding free money. And secretly? We like it all even more when its raining.

Anyway, it was this kind of northwestern, Hippyville-type enthusiasm that sent us driving over to the coast. Once there we were amazed at how NOT pacific northwesty the weather was! There was this big ball of fire in the sky, and the sky itself wasn’t the comforting, reassuring grey that we come to expect, but instead a shocking and even scandalous shade of LIGHT BLUE! Was there massive wind? THERE WAS NOT! I was even forced to remove layers! REMOVE LAYERS I SAY!

Despite this end-of-the-world-is-nigh weird weather we still had a lovely day. We poked anemones and walked down stretches of sand and everything. And the kids did those things that the kids do: Princess Longtoes took her first steps on sand, followed by long minutes sitting on the sand and marveling at the strangeness of sand. LONG minutes. Dude, sand is just stinking cool is all. Meanwhile, Princess Stinkbottom found a STICK! In fact she found TWO STICKS! And once she was done experience all the joy that writing in SAND with a STICK can bring she started noticing there were also SHELLS! There were also FEATHERS! She was in full-on astoundiosity about all the amazing things that are just scattered over the coastal range. And ALL. FOR. FREE.

Eventually it was time to take the 30 broken, extremely plain seashells and the 6 sandy, sad-looking seagull feathers and the two driftwood-y sticks and go home. Unfortunately by the time that it WAS the time to go home we were still walking down the sandy stretches. We still had a pretty impressive hike back to the car in front of us. A prospect that Princess Stinkbottom was totally GO about at the bottom of the hike and pretty dang DONE about once we finally reached car. Still, she made the hike, and was conscientious to check, and double-check, that her Dad still had the 30 shells and the 6 feathers and the 2 sticks all the way back. ALL the way back. Super-important shells and magically delicious feathers and could-cure-cancer sticks all made it every step of the way back to the car.

By the time we got back to town the somewhat toasted Princess Stinkbottom was now a lovely golden brown on both sides, with an ooey-gooey freak-out center. She had a meltdown in the Rite-Aid (where we stopped for bathrooms and beverages! Because there is no “Bob’s Bathrooms and Beverages” store on the coast! Or anywhere else in the world! Thank you very much Your Dang Mr. Highness PULL OVER THE CAR BEFORE I MAKE MY VERY OWN BEVERAGE IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!!) and another at the Applebees and she really just needed to be going home.

They dropped me off at my house and I open up the back to get my crap. And then I have one of those moments where the parents who know me remember that I can sometimes be helpful and therefore they shouldn’t just stop knowing me entirely even though that’s what makes the most sense right then. Because me, I don’t always have that filter in the brain between thinking of something funny to say and saying it which would ask the question “will the kids get that you’re joking or are you about to stick a grenade in that car seat?” No, I opened up the back of the car and grabbed my jacket and my camera bag and said to all in the car “and I’m taking all of these shells too.”



There is no amount of apologizing to the car full of parents who now have to talk their absolutely fried 4-yr old off the ledge of “she’s stealing my very special and magical shells!!!” that will do. And I’m pretty sure that the look that the King shot me over the head of his hysterical daughter should be registered as a lethal weapon. Because I actually fell over dead right then from it’s impact. No court in the land would have convicted him either.

(but for the record? The parents laughed first.)

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